We tend to overlook the backup cornerbacks in the NFL… often forgetting they are the guys who are only one chinstrap away from saving the day in a do-or-die game.
Chykie Brown is one of those guys. Nice to see him get some publicity love for a change from the Ravens PR staff.
Must have been a slow day at One Winning Drive today, because Garrett Downing of the Ravens PR Department thought well enough of Brown to give him a spotlight at the Ravens’ NFL.com website.
Per Downing’s assessment of Brown:
“The [3rd cornerback] job opened up when Corey Graham signed with the Buffalo Bills. Baltimore could fill the need in free agency or the draft, but fourth-year cornerback Chykie Brown is out to prove he’s the man for the job.
“I feel that No. 3 spot is on lock by me,” Brown said before a workout at the Under Armour Performance Center. “They can bring players in and keep competition going, but I went through competition my whole life.”
Brown isn’t the only one confident in his ability to take on a larger role. Harbaugh said the 27-year-old defender is primed to step up this season.
“Chykie’s ready,” Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings. “We’ll see how ready. He’s ready to make a run with a lot more playing time.”
Brown has stayed in Baltimore during the offseason to work on honing his game, and Harbaugh has been impressed with his work ethic. He is heading into the final season of his rookie contract, and he’s motivated for a big year after seeing some of his teammates like Arthur Jones, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe cash in with breakout seasons during a contract year.
“It’s a big season, and a big opportunity in front of me,” Brown said. “Every season is big, but this is a contract year, so it’s an opportunity for me to make some plays, catch teams’ eyes. This is a big season for me, so that’s why I’m getting a head start right now.
“I’m trying to stay ahead of the game. While everybody else is out enjoying the offseason, I’m still working.”
Man, you have got to admire that kind of offseason dedication.
Brown is 6-0. weighs 194, and played his collegiate ball at Texas. He was drafted by the Ravens in the 5th round in 2010.
According to Downing’s interview with Chykie, Brown specifically said that he is working to improve his footwork, hand-eye coordination and overall strength. He wants to play more press coverage next season, so getting stronger and improving his movement is critical.
He has talked several times this offseason with Harbaugh, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Secondary Coach Steve Spagnuolo about fine tuning his game.
“The biggest thing with him is attention to detail,” Harbaugh said. “He’s way more detail-oriented than he used to be. That’s been the key for him. If he’ll be a detailed press corner – if he’ll put his hands on people and stay squared and be physical at the line of scrimmage and communicate with the safety on every single play – Chykie can play. It’s the lapses that he has to get out of his game. He knows that. He’s working hard at that.”
Brown was the Ravens’ No. 4 cornerback last season behind Graham, Smith and Webb, and finished the year with two tackles and one pass defensed. The pass breakup came on a critical two-point conversion against the Steelers on Thanksgiving where he forced an incompletion by wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Brown has mostly played special teams during his three years in Baltimore, but he does have experience on defense. During the 2012 season, Brown was used as the No. 3 cornerback and even had a spot start because of the injury riddled Ravens secondary.
“It’s been a great experience to show the coaches that they picked me up in the fifth round, late, but I can play at a high level,” Brown said. “I kind of think that’s the reason why they kept me around, because I can play special teams and I can step in and be a starter at any time when one of the guys goes down.”
Again, here’s Garrett Downing on Chykie: “Brown will get his chance to earn a significant role on the defense during training camp this summer, and he will use the next few months to make sure Harbaugh’s expectations come to fruition.”
“He thinks I’m ready, and I think I’m ready too,” Brown said. “It’s just a matter of me showing him what I’ve been doing this offseason.”
This is the kind of story that should convince Ravens fans that not all these Ravens are millionaires. In fact, most NFL players are year-round hard-working journeymen who are “thousandaires” at best. It is not a glamorous life. For most it is a year-round grind that goes against all odds to prove that one belongs. You have a limted window of youth and health to prove that you are meaningful to a team’s destiny. You hope for the big payday before Father Time says it’s over. At age 27, you really feel the pinch to get something meaningful happening in your football career. For guys like Chykie Brown, this is their year to either shine in a bigger role…. or to hang it up.
Some fan reaction:
NapTown Raven28: “I would like to see Brown get a chance but I think we need to take a CB early in the draft (trade back in 1st if we don’t get Ha Ha at 17 and draft Fuller) or take a CB in the 2nd. Webb is at his best when he plays in the slot in nickel packages so we need someone to compete with Brown for the outside spot opposite of J.Smith. Another thing they could do is bring in somebody like Champ to play that outside(only in nickel) but I would rather the Ravens take someone early in the draft.”
Well, Champ Bailey is out of the picture, having been signed by the Saints, unless that deal falls through. Bailey allegedly will be converted to safety by the Saints.
T-Phizzle: “3rd corner usually plays slot, but Webb will probably take that role, so the 3rd corner in our packages will play outside. IMO, finding a guy who can play outside is A LOT easier than finding a guy who can play in the slot. It is ridiculous the way NFL offenses are these days and it seems some guys in the slot are uncoverable. That being said, I do not believe Chykie will be our 3rd corner, I believe we will either draft one late or sign a vet late in the offseason.”